This famous surname recorded in both Spain and Portugal, is of ancient pre 10th century Basque origins. Recorded in a number of forms including de Belasco, Belasco, de Velasco, Velasco, and Velasquez, as well as the Portugese Vasquez and Vaz, the derivation is from the ancient word "vela or bela" meaning the crow. The presence in many early recordings of the preposition "de" meaning of or from, suggests a locational origin, and gives a meaning of the place of the crows. However in other cases the name was clearly originally a nickname that described somebody who was thought to have the characteristics of the fierce bird. The suffix of "-sko" means little or perhaps son of, to give "Little Crow or son of Crow". Medieval humour throughout Europe was very robust, so it is quite possible that the original meaning may have been something quite different from the modern translation, even the total reverse! This surname can be arguably said, at least in England, to be famous because of the artist Diego da Silva Velasquez. This is particularly so because of his much admired and sensational nude, known as the Rokeby Venus. This was painted in 1658 shortly before his death in 1660. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving Spanish church registers include examples such as Barbra de Velasco of Soba, Santander, on April 27th 1547, and Antonio de Belasco of Valladolid, on January 14th 1562.
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